RFP - Rubber Fibres Plastics International

Crafted from handmade polycarbonate filament...

…was the puzzling description of an outdoor chair, I read in a design magazine the other day, and by no stretch of imagination could I see how this could be achieved. However, I find this misshapen wording, obviously intended to give the material a special value in certain circles, symptomatic of the poor image that plastics still have. At any rate, outside the industry they are often not perceived as high-tech materials that fulfil a wide variety of requirements in a broad range of applications. Rather abashedly or even grudgingly people admit that plastics might be beneficial in one area or another, but rarely without referring to plastic waste, the problem of its fossil origin and climate change. So as far as communication is concerned, we “insiders” still have a lot of convincing to do. It is the innovative power of the rubber and plastics industry after all that can counter these problems with sustainable solutions and that keeps on providing improvements.

It is to be desired that K 2022 (19 to 26 October 2022 in Düsseldorf), with its focus on the circular economy, digitalization and climate protection, will generate a certain resonance beyond the industry and provide the opportunity for a broader dialogue. Erhard Wienkamp, Managing Director at Messe Düsseldorf, sees an enormous demand for personal exchange on a global level, which is why K 2022 will again occupy the entire fairgrounds (p. 132).

For the latest news from R & D, you won’t have to wait for K 2022. This issue of RFP Rubber Fibres Plastics shows once more that the focus of our industry has shifted towards sustainability and circular solutions. Continental, for example, has extended its commitment to sustainability in the natural rubber supply chain (p. 133). In the iMulch project various research institutes and companies teamed up with nova-Institute to establish test criteria for determining microplastics in the ecological system soil (p. 126). A position paper by CreaCycle GmbH, EPC Engineering & Technologies GmbH and Lömi GmbH calls for the recognition and inclusion of solvent-based purification/dissolution as material recycling for the purpose of calculating recycling quotas (p. 139). To boost research on chemical recycling of mixed plastic waste Coperion has supplied a twin screw extruder to Ghent University (p. 147).

In our research papers, Nicole Holzmayr, Hubert Oggermüller and Tobias Brandmeier (Hoffmann Mineral) describe a mineral filler which displays its advantages when chlorine-free peroxides are used as crosslinkers in high-temperature vulcanised (HTV) solid silicone (p. 128). Gilles Meli and Anais Berjeaud (Imerys) present some research on surface coated minerals developed especially for fluoroelastomers (p. 134). And Debatosh Baidya, Sharon Wu, Varun Thakur and Jerry Matthew (Dow) compare the processability of EPDM in pellet and bale form during the mixing process (p. 140).

Enjoy reading!
Christine Rüdiger


Polymeric materials in the European cable industry 2021

AMI Consulting has published the new edition of its market report that analyses the use of polymeric materials in the European cables industry. This niche but high value market saw an increase of 2.8 % per year between 2016 and 2019. During this time, the problems suffered by the automotive sector offset the growth seen across other applications such as renewables or telecommunications. Over 1.3 million t of polymeric materials was used in cable production during 2019. In 2020, the industry was negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular during the first half of the year. However, the market has seen a strong beginning of 2021 and it is expected to reach pre-Covid levels despite the raw material sourcing issues faced across the supply chain early in the year.


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Nine criteria for characterising micro- and macroplastics in soils

The issue of plastic waste has become part of all social debates. However, the pollution of the ecological system soil still receives little attention. So, the question arises whether plastics that remain on soils or fields (including water from drainage systems) do not have similar effects on the environment as, for example, in seas, rivers or lakes. Researchers of the iMulch project succeeded in establishing the first three test criteria for determining microplastics in the ecological system soil.


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The world’s plastics and rubber industry focuses on K 2022

According to Messe Düsseldorf, now that the deadline for registrations for K 2022 has passed, it is clear that the interest taken by exhibitors in the world’s most important trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry, to be held in Düsseldorf, Germany, from 19 to 26 October 2022, continues unabated. “K 2022 will again occupy the entire fairgrounds,” said Erhard Wienkamp, Managing Director at Messe Düsseldorf, and added: “When talking to exhibitors we feel that there is an enormous demand for personal exchange on a global level.”


Continental extends commitment to sustainability in natural rubber supply chain

Continental and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development have agreed on a significant expansion of their project started in 2018 to ensure full traceability of the natural rubber supply chain in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan in Borneo.


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Material recycling in a circular economy for plastic – a critical assessment

In order to raise the discussion on the topic of Circular Economy for plastics to a fact-based level, CreaCycle GmbH, EPC Engineering & Technologies GmbH and Lömi GmbH have developed a position paper that addresses all parties involved in this topic. They call for the improvement of the current terminology of the relevant waste directives, including the incorporation of the latest available technologies for plastics recycling, such as solvent-based purification/dissolution. They propose an EU directive specifically for plastic waste, allowing for a recovery hierarchy based on physical and chemical processes. In addition, the paper addresses the need for improved sorting capabilities for material recycling and a regulatory framework that ensures end-of-life costs are considered. Finally, the authors call for the recognition and inclusion of solvent-based purification/dissolution as material recycling for the purpose of calculating recycling quotas.


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The ISO Standard 18064. Preview to the revised edition of the TPE nomenclature

Are you familiar with standardization? Of course you are. You can hardly find something in a technical area where there is no norm. Fortunately, on the ISO level an agreement has to be worked out that a standard is valid worldwide. To be a part of that International Standard Organization a person has to be delegated from a national association, e.g. DIN in Germany.


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Chemical recycling of mixed plastic waste. Coperion supplies twin screw extruder to Ghent University

Coperion is supplying an extrusion system to Ghent University in Belgium for research and development tasks in chemical recycling of mixed plastic waste. The company designed this laboratory system, built upon a ZSK 18 MEGAlab twin screw extruder, especially for chemical recycling of post-consumer waste within a throughput range of 1 – 10 kg/h. Along with the extruder, it includes a feeder from Coperion K-Tron as well as a vacuum unit.


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Ergonomic accessibility and efficient automation. LWB Steinl’s tiebarless VR (vertical/frame) series

A tiebarless clamping unit is usually better accessible than its counterpart with a tiebar-type clamping unit. This applies in particular to parts handling and tool changes, both manually and automatically. LWB Steinl has an exceptional position in this context, since between the machines with tiebarless C-frame clamp and the conventional tiebar machines there is a machine series with the denomination "VR-machines", that is neither of the two. Their clamping units consist of one or more portal frame modules which function as carriers and guide elements for the mould mounting platens and for applying the clamping force. The VR (vertical/frame) series is scalable over a wide range of sizes and opens up a number of efficiency advantages, as the following report documents.


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Peroxide crosslinked silicone rubber. Alternative chlorine-free peroxide and optimisation of property combinations

The mineral filler Aktisil Q was developed by Hoffmann Mineral GmbH specifically for high-temperature vulcanised (HTV) solid silicone rubbers. In this article, we will take a closer look at the advantages of Aktisil Q when replacing a chlorine containing peroxide with a chlorine-free product. In addition, it will be shown that Aktisil Q can improve opposing properties in combination and also reduce mixing costs, in some cases significantly.


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Surface coated minerals for fluoroelastomers

Fluoroelastomers have special physical and chemical properties like high chemical resistance, temperature stability and good dielectric properties. This paper will introduce several functional fillers specially designed for fluoroelastomers: wollastonite (a calcium metasilicate), talc (a hydrated magnesium silicate) and calcined clay (a hydrous clay heat treated). Furtheron, it will illustrate their benefits in two different curing systems: bisphenol and peroxide.


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Comparing black incorporation time and fill factor of EPDM in pellet and bale form

The objective of this paper is to demonstrate that semi-crystalline EPDMs in pellet form provide a faster black incorporation time (BIT) compared to semi-crystalline EPDMs in bale form. Moreover, EPDM pellets can also enable higher fill factors in the mixer compared to the bale form due to the higher surface area to volume ratio relative to bale EPDMs. The decrease in BIT and increase in fill factor help compounders to achieve higher productivity.


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